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Thursday, August 29, 2013
Diego De La Hoya turning pro

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Oscar De La Hoya, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist and decorated 10-time professional world titleholder in six weight classes, announced his retirement from boxing in 2009 and now is a full-time promoter. But there soon will be another De La Hoya prowling the boxing ring.

Diego De La Hoya, Oscar's 19-year-old cousin, will make his professional debut Sept. 12 (Fox Sports 2) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on a card that is part of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fight-week festivities in advance of their Sept. 14 megafight.

Diego De La Hoya, a junior featherweight from Mexico who signed with Golden Boy Promotions (Oscar's company) and is managed by Joel De La Hoya (Oscar's brother), was a standout amateur with more than 250 fights and a silver medal in the Mexican Olympic nationals.

Diego De La Hoya missed making the 2012 Mexican Olympic team with a loss to Oscar Valdez, who is now one of the hottest prospects in pro boxing.

De La Hoya said he had planned to try to make it to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro but changed his mind when AIBA, the organization that oversees the Olympic boxing tournament, changed its rules so fighters will box without headgear.

"If I'm going to fight without headgear, I might as well get paid for it," De La Hoya said. "I am very happy to have signed with the best company in boxing. This is a great opportunity for me, and I have to take advantage of it. I feel very happy and very motivated for Sept. 12, which will be my debut, and my opportunity to show people that another De La Hoya has arrived in boxing."

Added Joel De La Hoya, who manages three other Golden Boy Promotions prospects, Julian Ramirez, Hugo Centeno Jr. and Francisco Vargas: "I've watched Diego grow up in boxing, and we're very excited for this signing. This is another great addition to the management company. It makes it even more special that he's family. My job is to take him to the top, and between Golden Boy Promotions and myself, I think we're going to be able to do that for him."

Diego De La Hoya, who had been training in Mexicali, Mexico, has relocated in order to train with Joel Diaz at his gym in Indio, Calif.

"It's an honor having the kid here," said Diaz, known best as the head trainer of welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. "He has a good résumé. He wants to learn and likes to work. He has a lot of potential and has a devastating left hook. I like working with a kid like that."